Allotment at the turn of the year

The sound that you hear straight away on arrival is the twitter of Goldfinches, massed in a Bullace halfway down the hedge. Hard to count as they come in and out of the shadows and flutter down to drink from puddles in the black plastic cocooning a vacant plot. But their thirst does not come from the astringent fruits – unlike the nearby Blackbird which swallows them whole – for they seem to be pecking among the leaves. There are one or two Greenfinches there too

Apart from the traffic of Rooks & Jackdaws from their base the far side of the pub, the Crows on the wires at the foot of the horse paddock and the Magpies keeping watch from the hedgerow, autumnal Jays have reappeared on the scene, lured in by the bumper crop of golden acorns.

A Buzzard flaps down from the side. I see them overhead often enough but this is the first I’ve seen actually eyeing up the vegetable plots, though the Kestrels know well enough about the little beasts that scuttle about here.

A few Chiffchaffs are still foraging here, but now joined by a Goldcrest and later as the sun warms up flying insects, Swallows appear though the House Martin colony across the road, next door to the hairdressers, is now silent. Overhead, Meadow Pipits are making their steady way southwards.

A chorus of Starlings has arrived to whistle on the wires and below them a furtive Wren speeds between cluttered sheds, boards & weeds. From the trees come small calls of Blue, Great, Coal & Long-tailed Tits and somewhere a Mistle Thrush is rattling. there must be song thrushes here too but, for months on end at this time of year, you just don’t see them


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